THE MEANING BEHIND ‘LAHLITA’
In 2018 when Ria was thinking of a name for this project, and when it was nothing more than a seedling idea to create a diverse and welcoming space for people to share in their experiences of sexuality and relating, the name Lalita sounded clearly in her mind.
At first she dismissed it, thinking: ‘the ties to Lolita (the highly controversial novel written by Vladmir Nabokov in the 50’s) are too strong to name a project Lalita, especially one about sexuality’.
But the name was there, wanting to be heard, understood and voiced. It was as if as soon as she heard the name – it was already decided.
So, she began searching the internet with things like ‘Lalita’ and ‘Lahlita’, ‘Deity Lalita’ ‘Lalita Meaning’ and so on.. seeing whether there was a reason why this name wouldn’t leave her mind… and what relevance this name could possibly have to a project about sexuality and intimacy.
After a short time researching she came across the most beautiful and deeply humbling discovery. She discovered, Lalita Tripura Sundari, an ancient goddess from the Mahavidya tradition.
*N.B – It’s important for Ria to say here that her journey through sexuality and relating has been intricately linked with her own spirituality. Ria feels deeply guided and led by forces greater than herself in the work that she do, and ancient teachings and practices inform her own experience of sexuality – but she doesn’t believe in any way that this is necessary for exploration of sexuality and one of the main aims of The Lahlita Project is to remain accessible to everyone, regardless of beliefs and backgrounds. So take from this what you need and leave anything that doesn’t feel right for you.*
So when Ria began reading about Lalita Tripura Sundari, what she represented and the message she embodied, she was shocked – so much so that she cried sat there at her kitchen table. Ria felt so attuned to the message of the project that was about to be birthed, and the purpose that she feels she is here on this earth to bring.
There isn’t a lot of information about Lalita on the internet, she isn’t as well known in ancient Vedic traditions as other gods and goddesses – but Ria spent the following weeks reading about her and getting deeper and deeper into any texts that she could find. (Ria’s awareness of the goddess Lalita is growing all the time, through both felt experience of her and new texts that come her way).
So Who is Lalita?
Lalita is the Goddess of Divine Play, ‘The Empress of Desire’. She represents the wonders that can be found in the untainted union of masculine and feminine (which are energies and archetypes present in all of us). Lalita represents pure and unconditional love without lust, of play and sensuality as a means of accessing deeper wisdom and understanding of ourselves and the nature of this world that we live in.
Lalita is depicted as a young woman stepping into her own power as a sexual being, relishing in the beauty of expressed love and union with another.
You don’t have to ascribe to spiritual beliefs to understand and assimilate the meaning behind the message of the Goddess which is this: truly understanding, connecting with, and finding joy in your own inherent sexuality is a direct way to experience life more fully and deeply.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Goddess Lalita, there are some links for you below.
Some of these will be more rooted in detailed mythology and some a little easier to digest without previous understanding of ancient teachings.
Please bare in mind that there are many different interpretations of what the goddess Lalita represents and the message that she shares, and as with anything that derives from ancient scriptures, let these stories speak to you as an individual – see what parts (if any) make sense and take what you need from them.
If that’s nothing, and this story is nothing more than that, simply a story, then that is absolutely wonderful too. It’s so great that you’re here, whoever you are, whatever your story, welcome and welcome again to The Lahlita Project.
Much Love Always
According to the Śrī Vidyā, an ancient Indian belief system, Lalita Tripura Sundari is the Great Mother, the Empress of Desire.
Lalita is a playful young woman, brimming with compassion, care and understanding. She is the Mother of all the children of the universe, from the seedling tree to the human being and she sheds love on her children again and again – whether they are seen as ‘bad’ or ‘good’.
Lalita symbolises the divine union between the masculine (Śiva) and the feminine (Śakti). She reminds us that we are all made up of masculine and feminine qualities and shows us the great understanding and power that we can access when we find a home in all parts of ourselves – lightness and dark, yin and yang.
When the project first began to take shape, the name Lalita appeared in a thought. At first, we had no idea how this name, which was seemingly unrelated, tied in with the project and our ethos but it rang so true that it was decided.
We set out researching the name, looking for a deeper meaning to the sign that had been sent and here we uncovered the Goddess Lalita.
Lalita is playful, cheeky and always around us. She is here to teach us about the power of sexual energy, the blissful union we can find with ourselves and with others if we do so with an open heart and a willingness to learn.
If you want to learn more, you can read her complete story here.
One of The Lahlita Project’s main aims is to discuss how sexuality, love and relationships can be used as a tool to expand your mind, explore your body and travel into new spaces with yourself and your partner. So we invite you to connect with Lalita. She is already inside you.
Photo by Sally Kempton